Coronavirus - COVID19: Service information
At First Bus, your safety is our top priority. In the wake of the evolving impacts of coronavirus, we are working with the Government and wider industry to ensure we are following the latest advice to keep you safe on our buses.
Please bookmark this page for the latest updates. We are monitoring services and making adjustments where necessary to ensure key workers can make necessary journeys.
The government advice is to considering other forms of transport before using public transport and to travel safely. People intending to travel should check the appropriate government advice.
There are currently no restrictions on passenger type and everyone is welcome on our buses if their journey is necessary, they follow government and First Bus guidance, and they are not feeling unwell. Anyone who is suffering from coronavirus symptoms including a persistent cough or high temperature, should not travel, and should follow public health guidelines.
With operators and customers working together we will provide a bus network, for those who need it, that is safe and allows everyone to complete their necessary journeys.
What timetables changes are coming up?
From 5th July 2020, we are revising services as follows, with a number of weekend service frequency increases and additional journeys as follows:
40 (Channels-Chelmsford- Boreham)
The Saturday service will be revised, operating every 30 minutes between Channels and Chelmsford and extending hourly through to Boreham
42/A/B (Galleywood – Broomfield Hospital/Stansted Airport/Braintree)
The Monday to Friday daytime timetable will be revised, frequencies are unchanged. The Saturday service will be increased to operate every 15 minutes between Galleywood and Broomfield Hospital and continue hourly to Stansted Airport (42A) or Braintree (42B)
45 (Moulsham Lodge – Writtle)
The Monday to Friday daytime timetable will be revised, frequencies are unchanged.
54/56 (Beaulieu Park to North Melbourne/Broomfield Hospital)
The Saturday service will be increased to operate a four bus per hour service (with 54 and 56B each operating half hourly), with two buses per hour continuing on to Broomfield Hospital as service 56B.
Additional Sunday journeys will operate as follows: 1000 and 1200 Chelmsford to Braintree and 1047 and 1247 Braintree to Chelmsford
The Saturday service will operate as service 71 instead of service 71A, with Boreham Village now served by 40 as per the Monday to Friday service. An hourly service will operate between Chelmsford and Colchester with additional trips providing a half hourly service between Chelmsford and Springfield Sainsburys.
75 (Colchester to Maldon)
An additional journey will operate on Monday to Saturday - 0609 Colchester to Maldon
X30 (Southend-Chelmsford-Stansted Airport)
A two-hourly timetable will operate seven days per week. Combined with service X10, a co-ordinated hourly service will operate for the main part of the day between Chelmsford and Stansted Airport
Chelmsford Park and Ride
The service between the Sandon Park and Ride site and Chelmsford city centre will resume, operating every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday between 0700 and 1900
For further details regarding the Park and Ride service, including fares and updated concessionary pass information, please follow this link
From 6th July
6:09 75 service from Colchester to Maldon Mon-Sat
Do bus passengers need to wear a face mask/covering to get on your buses?
In England and Scotland it is now mandatory to wear a face covering on Public Transport unless you have an exemption. Failure to do so may result in a fixed penalty notice of £100. To see the government guidance on face covering exemptions please follow this link ⇒
- Please remember to bring a face covering or mask for your journey, it needs to fit well and cover your mouth and nose.
- Put your face covering on before boarding the bus.
- If you have an exemption and you are unable to wear a face covering please be prepared to inform the driver or show an Extra help to travel card (Journey assistance card).
Please see here for more details ⇒
To see the government guidance on face covering exemptions please follow this link ⇒
- Please take your face covering with you at the end of your journey.
Will the driver refuse to let me on if I’m not wearing a face mask/covering?
It is your legal responsibility to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport unless you have an exemption. The driver cannot enforce this but you may be liable to a fixed penalty notice of £100 if you refuse.
Who is exempt from wearing a face covering?
Exemptions for the use of face coverings will apply to those with certain health conditions, disabled people and children under the age of 11.
Why are your drivers not wearing a face mask/covering?
Our drivers have face masks but may not be wearing a face covering or mask while driving as this can be distracting. And for those who wear glasses there is a risk these get steamed up while driving. The cab has a protective screen to separate the driver and passengers.
Why is my driver wearing a mask when they help vulnerable people?
Our drivers have to leave their cab when helping vulnerable customers and so are following the advice to wear a face covering as they are now in an open area of the bus and briefly in closer contact with the passenger.
Will key workers get priority boarding?
No, but we have made changes to prioritise our service network around the needs of key workers and we are asking other customers to consider ways to travel before using public transport at this time and be aware of those who may have a priority need to use the bus.
Will I need to leave extra time for travel
Passengers should follow Government guidance and leave extra time for their journeys. You should consider walking, cycling and all other forms of transport before using public transport at this time. To help with this we are asking our customers to only travel if your journey is necessary.
Is the driver responsible for managing social distancing measures?
Our drivers will advise customers wherever possible but they cannot enforce social distancing measures.
Please note the seating measures we have introduced are advisory for customers and we will not be asking our drivers to enforce them or leave their cab area, unless operating the manual bus ramp. Our driver will help advise customers when boarding where seats are available.
What additional cleaning is taking place?
Our buses are comprehensively cleaned every night by our expert team of cleaners, including regular disinfection of all grab rails and poles, entrance door handles, window ledges and other touchpoints. We are now also using a long-lasting sanitising treatment (Zoono Z71) on our buses and in depots, which kills Coronavirus on surfaces for up to 28 days. It is environmentally-friendly, uses no alcohol or dangerous chemicals, and is scientifically proven to be highly effective against Covid-19.
Will you be providing face masks or hand sanitiser for passengers?
No, customers should use their own sanitiser and face covering.
Please see the government advice on using and making a face covering:
What steps is First Bus taking to maximise social distancing, at stops and on board?
On our buses we are operating at a reduced capacity with around 1 in 4 seats being available. It is therefore likely that that you might see ‘Bus Full’ signs as some services reach their revised capacity more quickly.
If you are waiting at a bus stop and the bus drives past, it is likely it has reached its reduced seating capacity. If the bus does stop, but is near capacity, the driver will only allow one person to board for every person that gets off, so you may need to allow extra time for your journey and be prepared to wait. With the latest version of the First Bus App you can now track your bus live on a map and it also displays how many seats are available on each bus.
In addition, you will also see further measures in place to help you to adhere to social distancing guidelines. These include:
- New capacity signs by the entrance of each bus
- Seat signs and tape to clearly show where you should/shouldn’t sit to maintain a safe distance
- Reminders to be considerate of other passengers
- No longer allowing standing
What should passengers do to socially distance, at stops and on board the bus?
- Only travel by bus if your journey is necessary
- Plan your travel in advance, avoiding peak periods
- Please observe social distancing on-bus and at bus stops
- Wear a face covering when on board (unless you meet the exemption criteria set by the government)
- Sit in a window seat, leaving an empty row of seats in front and behind
- On our double deckers, consider sitting upstairs (if you are able)
- Pay with contactless or purchasing your ticket in advance on our Mobile App
- Use the correct change if you must pay by cash
- No eating or drinking while on board
- Leave windows open to aid ventilation
Will I be able to get a pushchair on board?
We are asking customers with a pushchair or buggy to consider the travel needs of vulnerable passengers and those in a wheelchair or with restricted mobility. This may mean that you have to leave extra time or wait to complete your journey.
Will I be able to get a wheelchair on board?
We are asking customers to consider the travel needs of vulnerable passengers and those in a wheelchair and will do all we can to prioritise access to the wheelchair space for a wheelchair user.
Safety Measures on First Buses
|Please watch our videos for information and advice for travelling on the bus during the coronavirus situation:|
|Travel safely on our buses: Social distancing and travel information: Video ⇒|
|Face coverings: Video ⇒|
|First Bus App: Know where your bus is and how many seats are available: Video ⇒|
|Cleaning on our buses: Video ⇒|
|Sanitiser: Video ⇒|
Which First Bus ticket offices and customer service centres are open and which are closed?
The Colchester and Chelmsfor Travel Centres remain closed. For customer service enquiries you can call us on 0345 646 0707. Our lines are open from 9am to 5pm Mon-Fri. Our quieter times are usually between 11am and 3pm so you may prefer to call then as there will be less of a wait to speak to one of our Customer Support Agents.
If you prefer, you can fill out the contact form here instead ⇒ We will get back to you as soon as we can but please be aware that for lost property enquiries our response time is usually within 3 working days for all other enquiries this could take up to 14 days.
What happens if my travel plans change or I am unable to travel due to this infection, will you refund me?
Certain pre-paid tickets allow full flexibility of use and for some, such as single tickets on our m-ticket App, we have extended the expiry to allow customers more time.
Our general Terms and Conditions still apply but we will look at each customer’s situation. The best way to contact us to talk about your ticket or change to travel plans is set out below – rest assured we’ll look into your enquiry and come back to you as soon as we can.
- For mobile tickets (mTickets) bought in our app, please email our mTicket support team email@example.com. Please include the mobile number and email address associated with your mTicket account . Alternatively, please call us on 0330 094 7577.
- For subscription tickets, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the email address and telephone number associated with your subscription.
- For tickets you’ve bought on our website to print at home (eTickets, e.g. airport services), please call:
0345 646 0707 and select option 2 then option 2 or complete a contact us form.
- For all paper tickets, please call 0345 646 0707 and select option 2 then option 3 or email us at: SSC-TicketEnquiries@firstgroup.com
We’re absolutely committed to being there for our customers and you can contact us by phone on 0345 646 0707 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and we're available on Twitter 7am until 7pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5pm weekends and bank holidays. Please see our Help and Support page for contact details.